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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

How did you successfully get a cat not to claw the furniture?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (35518points) November 26th, 2021

Cat owners, please share with me your successful strategies for dissuading a cat from ruining upholstered furniture.

I am familiar with keeping a spray bottle of water on hand. I’ve heard of commercial spray repellent. Does it work?

My apartment owner has relented, and we’re now allowed to have cats. I’m thinking of getting one from a shelter. I would likely get a female that is old and lazy.

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15 Answers

rebbel's avatar

Here’s how I approached it, some five months ago, when I took Nouri with me from Greece, to live together.
I kept an eye open to see where his first scratches would happen.
When that happened to be my 6 to 7 years old (bought second hand) couch/sofa, I was immediately okay with his choice.
I have also leather, and (partly) wooden furniture, and I preferred for him to not scratch these.
So what I’m saying, I guess, is: see where she starts her business, if it is to your liking, then okay.
Or no, what I say is: be prepared, be okay with the idea that something is gonna go.
Try to lead her to that thing.
She’ll most likely will stay with just that one spot.
My Tsounouri does.

Have much fun with your kitty!

jca2's avatar

I’ve always had cats, pretty much my whole life, and this has always been an issue. We’ve tried the water gun method, which is somewhat successful but if you’re not home when the scratching is occurring, at the beginning when they start the behavior, then it’s not effective.

Furniture we’ve had has always had some scratch marks on it.

I’m planning to re-do my living room, which, in my house has an open floor plan. I am considering putting up either French doors (which is a permanent solution) or some temporary barrier like a wide baby gate or pet gate, which they could jump over if they’re determined. It’s very difficult because it’s a constant issue.

In thinking about it, and thinking about getting a new couch, I’m also considering some type of barrier on the couch itself, like a wraparound piece of aluminum or hard plastic, that would wrap around the base of the couch where the seats are. It can be removed if guests come. I don’t know if I could make something with store bought materials, and if it would be practical, but I’m looking at all options.

I’m also considering buying a used couch (cheap!) and getting it reupholstered with some durable fabric like indoor outdoor fabric or muslin, which may be more impervious to the cats (I believe impervious is the right word).

I feel if there are pets or kids in the house, it’s very hard to keep things nice and clean and problem-free and I sympathize with you.

ragingloli's avatar

You could try to wean her onto a dedicated scratching/libido post.

mazingerz88's avatar

You have to be in the house but my friend did this a few times and he said it worked for him. Surprising the cat with an air horn just before or during the act.

Zaku's avatar

I blocked access to the thing, with a door or high shelf.

Or I lucked out by offering or having something else the cat would rather scratch.

Or the cat eventually passed away. :-(

Or I didn’t succeed.

Jeruba's avatar

A neighbor of mine had the corners of his sofa covered with squares of sandpaper (grit side out), pinned with straight pins and strategically placed to ward off cat scratching. The cats would not scratch the sandpaper, he said.

I never bought any good new upholstered furniture until the cats were gone (and the boys had stopped eating chocolate cereal in front of the TV). The arms of the old chairs and sofas were always covered and/or patched. I just reconciled myself to claw damage for as long as there were cats in the house. Wish I’d known my neighbor’s solution back then.

flutherother's avatar

I moved to a warmer country where the cat, by choice, lived out of doors coming in to the house only for meals or perhaps a drink of water. Prior to that it shredded the three piece suite of a rented property I was living in.

kritiper's avatar

There are plastic shields that you can buy and install on the furniture. It will help to also get a rope covered scratching post that could be filled with catnip.

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snowberry's avatar

I’d use a smell the cats hate, but that you love (and of course one that’s not toxic to the cat), and apply that smell to the area you want them to avoid.

“As a general rule, cats are sensitive when it comes to smells, but there are a few scents they hate that might just surprise you. They can’t stand citrus and as much as you might love the smell of fresh herbs, cats hate rosemary and thyme. Banana and mustard are a big no-no too, as well as lavender and eucalyptus. Many essential oils are toxic to cats so it stands to reason that they instinctively want to run the other way when they get a whiff of your bath oils. They also aren’t a fan of strong menthol smells.” https://www.webbox.co.uk/blog/15-things-cats-absolutely-hate

gondwanalon's avatar

Impossible unless you declaw which is brutal animal cruelty.
To slow the distraction down a bit I provide scratching posts and use furniture covers.

smudges's avatar

Use scratching posts; scratchers that you can hang up, like on a door knob; there are toys that encourage scratching, like those balls that go in a circle in a little ditch frequently have cardboard or something in the center. If it were me, I’d just have LOTS of toys on hand, use some of the cover-furniture ideas above, and if you witness the cat scratching furniture, blow a whistle and take them to an appropriate scratcher. You can actually hold their front legs and put them on the surface of the scratcher and pull gently in an attempt to give them the idea of what they’re supposed to do. It’ll take some time, and probably won’t ever be perfect, but most of the answers here should help. Also, research online a lot. There are special cat things that discourage scratching. Oh…and get a cat tree with a few levels. These are all ideas which will also keep your cat mentally stimulated. Oh yeah, and keep some toys put away, and every couple of weeks swap them out with the toys that are already out. They really do get bored with the same toys. It sounds like a lot of work, but much of it is just buying stuff, and remember, the more you do in the beginning, the more reward you’ll reap long term. You might also want to research ‘clicker training’. I used a clicker to train my cats a little.

nikipedia's avatar

I adopted my cats from a rescue that did a great job training and socializing them. They told me to get a few different types of scratching posts before bringing the cats home, so they have things they like to scratch that are ok to scratch. So far, they’ve left my furniture alone.

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